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Design by Nature: Creating Layered, Lived-in Spaces Inspired by the Natural World

Design by Nature: Creating Layered, Lived-in Spaces Inspired by the Natural World


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The first design book that translates elements of nature—including flora, water, and wood—into elements of decor for beautiful, lived-in, bohemian interiors, from acclaimed designer and tastemaker Erica Tanov.

Inspired by nature's colors, textures, and patterns, design icon Erica Tanov uses her passion for textiles to create beautiful, timeless interiors that connect us to the natural world. Now, in her first book, Design by Nature, Tanov teaches you how to train your eye to the beauty of the natural world, and then bring the outdoors in—incorporating patterns and motifs from nature, as well as actual organic elements, into simple ideas for everyday decorating and design. 

Design by Nature contains new and imaginative decorating ideas for an organic and bohemian style that mixes and layers rugs, pillows, throws, and drapery, and incorporates unique patterns and fabrics such as shibori, ikat, and jamdani, all stunningly photographed by renowned photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo.   

With topics ranging from embracing imperfection in your home, to seeking out flea markets, to displaying your collections, Design by Nature takes an enduring and intuitive approach to design that transcends fleeting trends and encourages you to find your own personal style, source of creativity, and connection to the natural world. You don't need to travel to distant locales to find beauty; it's all around us, from the crackle of fallen leaves to the jagged bark of a tree.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399579073
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 203,570
Product dimensions: 8.27(w) x 10.28(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

ERICA TANOV launched her eponymous label in 1990 after earning a BFA in fashion design from Parsons School of Design. Her collections of clothing and lifestyle goods, sold at her three boutiques in California and her online shop, epitomize relaxed luxury. Her work has been featured in VogueElle Decoration UKUndecorate, and The New Bohemians. Actresses including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Vera Farmiga have donned Tanov's enduring pieces.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: A Way of Seeing 

A writer once described me as an “imperfectionist,” and it rings true. I steer away from anything too perfect or manicured and prefer to create beautiful, relaxed spaces by embracing objects with their imperfections. I’m basically a refined hippie—attracted to the loose, natural, and raw and things in disrepair—yet am also drawn to pieces with a hint of glamour and opulence. I believe in buying high-quality goods although the name of the maker or designer is not important. I buy lasting things that I love. 

Everything I do, from designing clothing or wallpaper to arranging a room, aspires to reflect the effortless beauty of the natural world. My designs are often inspired by simple sights: the trees in my backyard, the fallen leaves and blooming flowers I see on my walks, or a single fern casting its shadow on my porch. I love the flawed beauty inherent in nature. Perfectly imperfect. I want everything I design and make to have that same relaxed sensibility. 

My wish is for you to find inspiration in your own surroundings. It isn’t about traveling far and wide to beautiful landscapes (although that never hurts), but, rather, it’s about discovering beauty right outside your door. It can be something as grand as an old tree with wide-reaching limbs or something as small as a tiny leaf or acorn. You can find inspiration in a weed blowing gracefully on the freeway or the pattern of the craggy bark of an oak tree. You can be moved by the intense ochre colors of lichen growing on a branch or fallen twig or the damp fertile smell after a rain. Everything is source material. 


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